It's said that Elvis recorded the first rock 'n' roll song nearby at Sun Studio. But to understand why Memphis was the perfect spot for Sam Phillips and Elvis to make that first rock record, a visit to the Rock 'n' Soul Museum is a must.
The museum was created by the Smithsonian Institution to tell the story of American music’s start in Memphis. The exhibition begins with the story of sharecroppers and rural field hollers of the early 1900s who made their way to the streets of Memphis. It follows with the sound that came out of Sun, where country, blues, and gospel morphed into rockabilly and eventually rock. It continues with the Memphis Sound that made its way into the world via Stax and Hi Records, the great music of soul legends such as Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, and Al Green.
The museum is filled with costumes, instruments, and other artifacts important to telling the story of Memphis music.
Located in the FedExForum complex, the museum's location is prime just along historic Highway 61 at Beale Street, across from the Gibson Guitar factory and The Westin Memphis Beale Street.